Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 443–451

Spondylus crassisquama Lamarck, 1819 as a microecosystem and the effects of associated macrofauna on its shell integrity: isles of biodiversity or sleeping with the enemy?

  • Annika K. Mackensen
  • Thomas Brey
  • Christian Bock
  • Soledad Luna
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12526-012-0120-9

Cite this article as:
Mackensen, A.K., Brey, T., Bock, C. et al. Mar Biodiv (2012) 42: 443. doi:10.1007/s12526-012-0120-9

Abstract

In May 2009, we studied the bivalve Spondylus crassisquama and its relevance for macrobenthic biodiversity off the north Ecuadorian coast. We found that the large and heavy shells offer an exclusive substrate for numerous epibiont species and highly specialized carbonate-drilling endobiont species (71 species in total), which is a distinctly different and much more diverse habitat than the surrounding sandy bottoms (13 species, 4 of them found in both habitats). This is reflected by a Bray–Curtis dissimilarity index of 0.88. We discuss in detail the live habits of all 9 species of drilling endobionts that we found, and conclude that these can be seen as true mutualists, with the exception of boring sipunculids and bivalves. To further illustrate this complex co-existence, we visualize and quantify for the first time the tremendous effects of boring organisms on the shell structure of S. crassisquama by means of magnetic resonance imaging and a video appendix is provided.

Keywords

Spondylus crassisquama Ecuador Habitat complexity Macrofauna Boring organisms Nuclear magnetic resonance 

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annika K. Mackensen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas Brey
    • 1
  • Christian Bock
    • 1
  • Soledad Luna
    • 2
  1. 1.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Nazca Institute for Marine ResearchQuitoEcuador